Anna’s perfect life has become a category 5 disaster.
A hurricane destroying her home is only the beginning of Anna’s troubles. Her ex, Eric, plasters private photos of her on billboards all over the city and across the internet. The backlash against her makes the storm look tame: She’s suspended from her job. Her current boyfriend dumps her. The cops blame her for the pictures. Her friends vanish.
Trapped in despair, Anna spirals out of control. When she hits rock bottom, holding Eric accountable is her only way out of the mess her life’s become. He’s always seemed untouchable, but if there’s one thing this experience has taught her, it’s that no one is too perfect to be brought down.
She just has to create a perfect storm of her own.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I started Anna's Guide several years ago, back when revenge porn was initially becoming popular. Some states were starting to pass laws, but it took time. Meanwhile, in my day job, I was talking to women who'd had their lives ruined by a vicious ex. This book is for all of them.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Anna basically revealed herself to me. I saw her very clearly before I even had a plot. Then I slowly learned more about her disability, her history of depression, and her parents. Most of my main characters are inspired by people I've known, but Anna is all women. She comes from the idea that bad things can happen to anyone, and what matters is what you do next.
The newscasters spent days repeating dire warnings most people ignored. After all, we’d made it through ninety-nine percent of hurricane season without any storms traveling anywhere near us. Early November wasn’t exactly known for its tropical weather in the tristate area. Still, as Mamá used to say, it’s better to be prepared por si las moscas por si las moscas, or just in case.
To avoid tempting fate, I stocked up on eggs, milk, and bread (as if I’d be making French toast in a storm), grabbed a box of strawberry-flavored toaster pastries for good measure, froze blocks of ice in plastic containers, and filled my bathtub with water. This basic nod at hurricane readiness seemed more than sufficient. It never occurred to me to cover the windows or anything like that.
When the storm hit, the entire northeastern seaboard realized the newscasters hadn’t been overreacting for once. Winds howled and shrieked, shaking the house. Rain obliterated the satellite signal to my television early in the evening. Soon thereafter, I cowered in the basement of my three-bedroom house with a battery-powered lantern from an old camping trip and Hermione, my roommate’s brown tabby cat.
The two of us huddled in the spot furthest from the row of tiny windows under a sea of blankets as the storm raged overhead. Not long after sunset, my house lost power. The dots of light provided by street lamps winked out at the same time. My phone provided a lifeline to the outer world for almost an hour before the service stopped working. At least the lantern gave off a steady glow.
Alone, scared, and bored, I unfairly cursed my roommate for not being with me. Tara was in the middle of nowhere, taking care of her sick mother. She lived in a tiny trailer with no TV, cell service, or Internet in one of those squarish-type states that started with a vowel. Tara probably would prefer to be with me, storm or no. If she even knew about the storm, isolated as she was.
Still, sitting alone in my basement listening to rain beating against the windows was no fun. My boyfriend, Jay, got stuck working late. By the time he left the office, the Mayor of New York City asked all residents to remain home unless absolutely necessary, keeping the roads clear for emergency vehicles. The last time I talked to him, Jay was about to walk the twelve blocks home to his loft apartment through a downpour so thick he couldn’t see five feet beyond the circle of his umbrella.
Thunder crashed overhead. A streak of lightning lit up the room before the roar ended. I shivered and rearranged my covers. Using my phone as a flashlight, I picked up one of about five dozen old copies of Forbes magazine stored in our basement. My own face smiled up at me from a sidebar on the cover.
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